Do you have a young engineer at home?
Ford STEAM Experience is the kit many kids dream about. It might even make your child dream of becoming an engineer. The Ford Motor Company has created this kit to help kids in elementary and middle school learn how cars are designed. The best part: You can get one delivered to your home for free!
Who designed this kit?
Recently I spoke with Lisa Sheth, a Ford engineer and Jenny Caruso, a STEAM experience brand manager. Both ladies are totally inspiring and easily answered all of my questions about the Ford STEAM box. They explained how they developed the kit and what components they wanted to include. Both Lisa and Jenny look forward to inspiring girls to become engineers. The STEAM box is just the beginning.
My 9-year-old daughter built a stylish Mustang GT with her Ford STEAM box and now she wants to design cars when she gets older. This type of learning outside the box has a huge impact on children and can get kids really excited to learn how to design a car. The best part for us, we solved many important problems along the way. Some of the problems she encountered included: connecting the various electrical pieces to make them work (lights, motor, horn) figuring out how the axles and wheels connected to the body of the car so that it would roll properly, and being able to follow the directions to determine the correct alignment of the car.
What will you learn from the STEAM kit?
Ford has collaborated with the Academics in a Box company (designers of the Groovy Lab in a Box ) to create a hands-on STEAM learning experience for children to complete at home. The kit includes everything your child will need to build their own car from scratch. Kids will need to think like a Ford engineer and build the car step by step. This kit might encourage children to explore the STEAM fields and realize how wonderful a career in engineering might be. The thinking process that goes into solving the design solutions of creating a car are the same skills that will help children solve problems later in life. This kit reminds me of the car model kits I loved when I was a child, but so much better. The concepts my daughter learned were based on math and science, with plenty of art and design mixed in. We had to read the instructions carefully, follow them closely, and think in advance about how those steps would help us create a finished vehicle.
Read more: Here’s how Jackie DeMarco, Ford’s Chief Programming Engineer, is building some of the world’s greatest cars.
How can you get a free kit?
You can sign up for your Ford Steam Experience kit online here. The kit will be shipped directly to your home at no cost (one per family). What will you receive inside your box? You will have every component you need to create one car. My daughter enjoyed building this car with me, and I enjoyed some very special bonding time with her. I loved watching my daughter develop her problem-solving skills as she tackled each step. Math and science combined with art and technology can be exciting she realized. This kit is meant to be slightly generic, so each child can color and decorate their Mustang GT as they see fit. One quick tip we would like to share, please open your box carefully since the cardboard box is part of your car!
What did we like best?
- Making the seats out of origami
- Making a horn that can beep
- Using copper tape and LEDs to give power to the headlights and taillights.
- Creating a motor drive with a belt (rubber band) that made the car move
Our final result was the coolest Mustang GT we have ever seen. My daughter proudly showed everyone the car she created. She explained what she learned about motors, bulbs and batteries, wheels and axles, power and much more. Incorporating the design element gave her the opportunity to use her artistic skills.
How does Ford encourage kids to become engineers?
Ford is dedicated to encouraging children to get excited about engineering. Not only can you try this kit at your home, some Girl Scout troops are building and racing their own cars. The Girls’ Fast Track Races are gaining in popularity, and can be found in many groups across the US. You can read more about the Ford and Girl Scout collaboration here. Watch this video to see how excited the girls were to race their cars.
Kode with Klossy is a free two week camp for girls who want to learn how to code. Ford has joined Kode with Klossy to expand the offerings so more girls can learn how to code, which will then bring more girls into the engineering field. Destination Imagination is an incredible event that teams from all over the US compete in, to learn how the creative process works, and to improve imagination and innovation. Last year Ford was the exclusive automotive STEAM collaborator and created the Build your Ford of the Future Challenge. Ford has been deeply committed to fostering education, and specifically, improving the STEAM subjects for our students over the past 30 years.
What is Ford’s end goal?
Ford wants to encourage students to look at all the opportunities available to them. Girls and boys will love customizing their cars and see each step that goes into building a car. Kids need to think outside the box (pun intended) more often, and this kit will allow your child to do just that.
My daughter likes to tell her four older brothers that, “Girls can do everything!” She really believes she can, and I love to see her interest in math and science growing. My daughter also learned an important lesson while building her car, she had to work through her mistakes. Her final project looked amazing but it did not come out exactly as she expected. She pushed through and was proud of her accomplishment, despite the imperfections she could see. I hope your family will enjoy learning how a car is built from start to finish, thanks to the Ford Steam Experience Kit.